As part of Lex’s birthday weekend we went to the Greater Cleveland Aquarium. This year we didn’t do the whole birthday party thing. Last year we went on a train ride and had a dinner at Ihop. We invited along family and ten of us mingled through the aquarium. We managed to get my father, my step-mother, two of my brothers, Xie’s parents, and Brian to come along.
I seemed to have managed to get everyone together at the wrong time, so half of us waited for the rest to arrive. Part of this whole thing was that we arrived early, not something we are actually known for. While we were waiting “Uncle” Brian won a stuffed shark and another stuffed fish out of a claw machine in the cafeteria. The second fish has since been dubbed dork fish. Brian gave the stuffed fish to Lex, and by reaction even a few days later, Brian gave Lex the best gifts of his birthday.
The first thing I can say is that visiting the aquarium is not cheap. We paid around 22.00 per adult and 16.00 for my son that was two days shy of three. So for a family outing for a day with parking we would be over 55.00 before tax. For some things that is not a bad deal, but I’m not sure it was great for what we received. For those who may want to visit more than once I would highly recommend the family pass which costs 130.00 and allows for two adults and two children.
The aquarium was nice, though a few sections were a bit cramped. The building wasn’t designed from the ground up to hold an aquarium. When the building was originally designed to house a power generator for Cleveland. At one point in the aquarium walk-through a skylight to allows you to look straight up the outside of one of the old smoke stacks. They did however make great use of the space. The separate fish areas in the hallway alcoves were a nice touch.
The only thing there that felt out-of-place were the alligators. Alligators may live a significant part of their life in water, yet I wouldn’t really consider them aquatic creatures. They did put on a show as they were eating when everyone was coming by.
Having worked at a haunted house I do understand the design choices they went with. They purposely routed you through areas and put obstacles in your path to walk around to make it seem longer than it actually is. This definitely caused there to be some traffic choke points walking through. It was designed to have you walk straight through and not really meander back and forth exploring. The whole trip through, taking our time in sections, was about ninety minutes.
Near the end of the aquarium there a long tunnel that is an arched aquarium that let’s you watch the fish swim overhead. The tunnel was long enough that some of our party started to feel claustrophobic. I am guessing they anticipated this, so you can exit without going through the tunnel. You do however have to exit through the gift shop……
Xie’s parents had to stop at West Side Market. So instead of heading to a restaurant for lunch we decided to eat at there. We managed to get gyros from the stand that was featured on Man Vs. Food. They were the best ones I have ever had in my life. I ordered the jumbo size for Xie and myself – we took them home and ate the rest for dinner. Lex had a smoothie and some of the gyro.
The most important part of all of it, Lex seemed to have a great time.